Review by Mister Sinister
"Bigger, badder and faster, Sonic 2 delivers across the board !"
Follow-up to the highly successful and pants-bustingly exciting Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 picks up where the first title left off. What do we make of it ? Is it hot like a Chinese Burn ? Or cold like a wet fish ? Read on ...
OVERVIEW AND OBJECTIVE OF THE GAME
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 sees you (Sonic the Hedgehog) teaming up with one of your buddies - Miles "Tails" Prower, for another session of racing about levels at blistering speeds, trying to thwart the plans of the evil Dr. Robotnik, and freeing your animal friends from their robotic imprisonment along the way ... yes, it seems as though he really hasn't learned a THING from the first time you kicked his butt.
GRAPHICS - 9/10
Whilst there was absolutely nothing wrong with the graphics in Sonic the Hedgehog (in fact they were STUNNING for a launch title), work has been done by the developers to make the graphics in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 EVEN MORE impressive, particularly in respect of the zones in which you play.
The levels are big, sprawling and have plenty of weird and wonderful elements to keep you diverted.
The same attention to detail and care has been applied to this title as was given to the original, and the graphics fly along at an amazing rate of knots when you get going.
Considering that there are now TWO main sprites on-screen at almost all times (Sonic AND Tails), there is thankfully only ever minimal issue with sprite flicker, and the game VERY very rarely slows down, so they have done a very good job of sorting that out as well.
SOUND - 9/10
Whilst the sound effects are very similar to those used in the first game (tweaked just a tiny bit here and there), the music is as amazing, if not even MORE amazing, than the first release.
The tunes that play in the background of each stage are so excellent I have them as ringtones on my phone. Nay, I listen to them in my CAR on the way home of an evening. They are like actual pieces of music that you can appreciate individually and on their own merits, and they carry the game from being what could be considered a tweaked version of the first game in places, through to being a decent standalone title that you can enjoy on its own.
CONTROLS - 9/10
The controls for Sonic are basically the same as they were for Sonic the Hedgehog (the first title) - all the buttons jump, and if you stop Sonic from moving, and then hold down on the d-pad and press the jump button repeatedly, Sonic will spin and spin and spin until you let him go and then he will bomb it off like a bullet out of a gun.
You can use this to reach higher areas, break through blocks, destroy enemies that are close to you, etc., etc.
What makes this title BETTER than its original counterpart, however, is that now a second player can join in the fun and take control of Tails, assisting you whilst you play as Sonic.
Tails moves like Sonic, and if left alone will follow Sonic around like a puppy, but when played by a cunning second-player, he can make all the difference between Sonic's living and dying in the game. See, if Tails "dies", he just respawns on-screen, so he can never actually properly cease to be in the game.
A clever Sonic-player will let Tails take the brunt of the worst areas of the game (nasty boss fights, awkward jumps etc.), knowing that if Tails snuffs it, he'll just pop back in a minute.
BE CAREFUL though, as a foolish Tails player can crumble blocks that Sonic might need to jump onto, activate elevators that Sonic then won't be able to reach and so on.
Having two players collaborating on-screen at the same time makes for an added element of strategy to the game, and brings new life to the Sonic experience.
PLOT - 3/10
Really not that different from the plot to Sonic the Hedgehog really, save that now Tails has become involved. Dr. Robotnik is still after those blessed Chaos Emeralds, and it is up to you and your pal Tails to put pay to his evil schemes.
It is, however, refreshing to see that the evil doctor is not deterred by his earlier failure to defeat you, as his boss fights were some of the best on the Megadrive to date, so at least we're sure to be in for another helping of those !!
GAMEPLAY - 9/10
The action is full-on and fast-paced with little-to-no reprieve, and so anybody that enjoyed the original Sonic the Hedgehog should derive the same level of enjoyment (if not more) from this game.
With the addition of Tails, now two people can play the game at the same time co-operatively (which is a welcome addition), and the developers have thrown in another mode - two player versus mode - which pits players 1 and 2 against each other (one as Sonic, the other as Tails) in a split-screen view of one of a number of races you can compete on to see who is best.
If you are finding Tails is annoying you, you can change the game's options from the main menu so that you play as either Sonic and Tails, Sonic alone, or Tails alone.
The bonus stages have been re-designed to facilitate two players as well, so now instead of the twisty, turning blocks you moved through in the first game, you (and Tails if he's around) run down chutes collecting coins - you can do some pretty fancy moves too if you're clever - just watch out for the bombs ;)
The levels are all really big, but generally you are bumped down from three stages per act in the first game, to two stages per act in this second title, but you don't feel HUGELY hard done by when you're playing, because as I say, the levels themselves are all really big - bigger than the first game definitely.
There is another new function in this title, and that is that if you acquire all of the Chaos Emeralds (there are seven of them in total), you can become Super Sonic, which you can activate when you get over 50 rings and do a special jump into the air. Super Sonic is BLISTERINGLY fast, and looks pretty cool too, so it's obvious that the game's developers haven't tried to just rehash what they had before (which would, I'm sure, still have been at least a reasonable success) - they have instead tried to tweak the bits they feel could be improved, and give you what you had before, plus a whole lot more !!
All in all the title feels polished, and fits in well both as a part of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and as a stand-alone title in its own right.
REPLAY VALUE - 8/10
If you have a friend to play this game with then the shorter-term replay value of the title is very high, and will remain very high. Mid- to longer-term replay value takes a hit, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, whilst you can play this game alone, it is part of a series that actually gets BETTER as time progresses rather than worse, and so you might find yourself passing this game over in years to come for its successors ...
Having said that I know at least one person that adamantly states that this is their favourite Sonic title, and that they will never part with their copy, so there we go !!
VALUE FOR MONEY - 9/10
For somebody that already owns a Megadrive, I think this title is great value for money. If, however, you are just after a bunch of Sonic games, you could pick yourself up a copy of Sonic Plus Mega Collection for the PC reasonably cheaply, so that's something to consider.
If you are able to get yourself a copy of this particular release for the Megadrive/Genesis, then I would advise you to hold onto it - like a fine wine, it can only get better with time ;)
OVERALL - 9/10 (This is NOT an average)
This is not a re-hash, this is a step forward in the Sonic series of games. Not a HUMUNGOUS step forward, granted, but then, when you have a winning formula, does it not make sense to tweak it rather than to completely redo it from scratch ??
The game is fun, fast, and varied to play, and now two people can play either co-operatively as Sonic and Tails, or head-to-head by racing against each other in versus mode.
The levels are big, bold and varied, and the boss fights are just as fun as they were in Sonic the Hedgehog. All told, it's a great, fun title !!
MAIN GOOD POINTS
* Same classic action as Sonic the Hedgehog (one)
* Big sprites, and beautifully detailed backgrounds
* EXCELLENT music that you just won't be able to get enough of
* Two players can now collaborate or go head-to-head
MAIN BAD POINTS
* Occasional sprite flicker when both players are going complex and varied moves at high speeds
* May be difficult to get your hands on a copy these days
SO SHOULD YOU GET IT ?
Yeah ! If you don't get this as a Megadrive release, then I would suggest you pick up a copy of Sonic Plus Mega Collection for the PC and enjoy that, but yeah - if you CAN get a copy of this particular title, then get it, and hold it :)
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/15/07
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